When patients come in for a free consultation with our plastic surgeons, chances are they’re focused pretty strictly on the details of the procedure they’re considering. Most if not all of their questions centre around the surgery and their safety. After all, when you have one on one time with surgeons who are world-renowned experts in their field, you want to get the most out of their specialized medical experience. But what about the questions you don’t think to ask your surgeon during consultation that come to mind later on? While we’re always on hand to answer any question you might have (no matter how big or small), here’s a topic that comes up frequently that we thought we’d share: talking to friends, family, and children about plastic surgery.
Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behaviour economics at Duke University and a New York Times bestselling author, recently offered insights to the RealSelf blog and we thought a lot of our past, present, and prospective patients might find them useful and interesting. Here are some common questions many people wonder about.
1.) How do I reveal to my friends and family that I’ve had cosmetic surgery when I think they will probably disapprove?
It’s important to keep in mind what led you to your decision in the first place. Chances are if you explain your reasoning, those who care about you will understand where you’re coming from as opposed to simply being surprised by or critical of the surgery itself. As Ariely explains, “this may be about getting back to the way you want to see and think about yourself, which is a straightforward thing people can relate to.” Talking about your reasons puts the focus back on this being your decision for your life and your body, and while they might be disapproving of cosmetic surgery in a general sense, your friends and family certainly want what’s best for you. Talking about it openly can help lower speculation and diminish it as a topic of conversation.
2.) How long should I wait to tell my children about my plastic surgery? I don’t want to tell them when they’re too young and scare them.
No one knows or understands your children better than you do, and ultimately you should use your best judgement if you’re feeling hesitant about it. But that being said, kids are naturally curious and generally have an easy time getting used to things so long as they have a comprehensible answer. Ariely feels that there’s no right age at which to tell (or not to tell) your kids, though he advises not waiting to do so: “as time passes, it will only become more difficult to have the discussion.” His advice is to explain in plain language that there was something you were unhappy with and you decided to fix it.
It’s an important consideration. Ariely doesn’t believe the decision will necessarily lead to a negative body image. His suggestion for talking about breast augmentation with a daughter is to explain, “I did this, but everybody has a different body type and different wants.” Keeping an open channel of communication is important so that as your daughter navigates her feelings about her own body as she grows up, she knows you are always there to hear her out and offer non-judgmental support.
4.) Should I tell my partner I had plastic surgery, even if I’m only having injection treatments? It’s my body, after all – do I really need to tell them?
There are benefits to telling your longterm partner, and to telling them in advance. It helps to foster trust, good communication, and honesty in your relationship. Would you want to be in a relationship where you felt like you couldn’t discuss your wants and needs openly and honestly? Ariely says: “I think you should tell your partner in advance. A partner who finds out without knowing about it beforehand will likely think the betrayal is larger.”
There is more helpful advice available in the original blog post. And of course, if you ever have any questions related to this topic (or about anything at all!) don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at[email protected].